Wednesday, May 8, will be the D-day in the big battle for Karnataka. The countdown has begun for the counting day, and with the high voter turnout being an indication of a strong anti-incumbency wave, a tussle on who will be Chief Minister has already begun in the Congress, even as other parties cross their fingers and wait for the best.
Wednesday, May 8, will be the D-day in the big battle for Karnataka. The countdown has begun for the counting day, and with the high voter turnout (57 per cent in Bangalore and 70 percent and above in the rest of Karnataka) being an indication of a strong anti-incumbency wave, a tussle on who will be Chief Minister has already begun in the Congress, even as other parties cross their fingers and wait for the best.
The results will decide the fate of 2,940 candidates in 223 Assembly segments. Although Karnataka Assembly has 224 seats, election in Periyapatna in Mysore district had been put off to May 28 following the death of the BJP candidate.
The frontrunner for the post of Chief Minister in the Congress, Siddaramaiah is confident of poll victory. He is expecting 120 seats for the party. He was seen telling his voters, "If I become chief minister, it's like all of you will be chief minister."
A five-time MLA from Mysore, Siddaramaiah has been a CM-in-waiting for long. He was the Deputy CM of Karnataka twice. He was edged out of the Janata Dal (Secular) six years ago for his chief ministerial ambitions, and the 2013 election is crucial for him. He has already declared that it is going to be his last election.
"I have declared, that - this election will be the last election for me, but I will continue in active politics" the Congress' tallest OBC leader said.
His chances at chief ministership could well be cut short by his own partymen. Many still look upon Siddaramaiah as an outsider, who joined the Congress with the sole purpose of settling his personal scores with his one time patrons - the HD Deve Gowda family. He is facing a strong opposition from the KPCC president Dr G Parameshwara.
"I know him only after he joined our party, I didn't know him before, because you know there was no way we exchanged" says Parameshwara.
While Parameshwar too is eyeing the CM's post, all their dreams may be crushed in case of a hung Assembly - in which case, the Congress won't have to worry about who will be the CM - regional parties will be king-makers and, hence, choose the king. If the Congress fails to cross at least 100 seats, then the JDS will decide who will be the CM and which alliance will rule the state.
JDS patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda once again wants to play a major role in the state politics by controlling the levers of power.
For the ruling BJP which has resigned itself to destiny, this election is just a learning experience. Some insiders admit that its expected tally varies from 40 seats to 70 seats. BJP wants to retain at least the number two position.
Former CM DV Sadananda Gowda, who is now BJP national vice president says, "We won't say that we will be the absolute majority of our own. I don't think so. We should be near to the reality. We can't simply tell that we will be getting 110-113 just like. But range in between 70-80, certainly we will get that much of seats."
BS Yeddyurappa who was the hero of the battle for Karnataka - 2008 is now playing the role of a 'Lotus' eater. He is hoping that his KJP will win at least 20 seats and Congress' tally won't cross 100. If the Congress gets a simple majority and the BJP manages to get at least 50 plus seats, Yeddyurappa will become irrelevant in state politics.
It's the significantly higher voter turn out of over 70 per cent this time that parties feel would mean a strong anti-government verdict, specially in Bangalore with the unexpected 57 per cent turnout. Will the Congress gain an upper hand or will we see another jugalbandhi? Wait and watch till Wednesday afternoon.